Patients will come to the complaining of a wart or callus on their foot. So, which is it? They are 2 completely different things. Treatments are also different and sometimes not needed.
Warts are caused by a virus. A virus is so small it cannot be seen with a microscope. The virus can be picked up just about anywhere. The common environment for warts is dampness; like wresting or gym mats, common showers, etc. Warts are mostly seen in younger individuals. We have seen patients from 2-85 years old, but predominately ages 10-20. They may or may not be painful. It may be flat or raised. It is difficult to know if you have a wart without experience. A rule of thumb is if the patient is under 20 it is probably a wart. If you’re not certain seek a professional. Although warts and calluses are not life or limb threatening there are other skin lesions that can be. (I put that last line in for legal issues).
A wart is the result of the virus mutating the skin cells. Our skin constantly grows allowing the outer layer to change about every 30 days. A wart starts deep in the skin and the virus needs to be destroyed for the wart to go away. Most warts go away within 2 years without treatment. Warts should be treated if they hurt or are spreading.
A callus is also an abnormality in the skin, but in this case there is no virus involved. Calluses are caused by external forces like pressure and friction. There are genetic factors involved. Some people and their ancestors never had a callus. Most calluses are caused by pressure. Pressure is due to abnormal ambulation and sometimes anatomic forces. In layman’s terms a “dropped metatarsal” will cause a callus on the bottom of the foot in the area of prominent bones. These can be balanced with pads and orthotics. Corns between toes are caused by shoes too tight or too big. Shoes that are too tight squeeze the foot and when the shoes are loose the foot slides in the shoe. The toes get jammed into the front of the shoe and the same effect happens.
All in all, warts are due to a viral infection and calluses are caused by outside forces. They are treated differently. You should have them diagnosed by a professional. You can then get advice as far as treatment. The rest is up to you.
If you are experiencing foot and ankle pain and/or discomfort call our Northern NJ Podiatry office located in Morris County to book an appointment: 973-927-2525
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